I finally put my finger on what was bugging me about the inauguration when I read this article, which perfectly summarizes my feelings about today’s political landscape.
If you’re too lazy to read the article, let me summarize. The guy is commenting on the following video, which I provide here for your educational purposes only. You don’t have to watch it if you don’t want to. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. I haven’t been able to sit through the whole thing.
The article’s point, and my point, is where was any of this kind of togetherness and love and unity at either Bush inauguration? In 2000, Ricky Martin agreed to sing at an inaugural party and was excoriated by Hollywood for recognizing Bush as a legitimate president. (“He will never be my president,” said Julia Roberts at the time, speaking for legions of Hollywood imbeciles.) You can chalk a lot of that up to the wounds of the Florida recount, I suppose, but I don’t recall any coming together in 2004, either. Bush won the second term of his presidency by a solid, unassailable majority vote, leading Keith Olbermann to lead the charge that he’d stolen the election in Ohio.
Bush, from the outset, was presumed to be a thief, a liar, and a thug, despite the fact that he has been perhaps the most gracious president to his political opposition that our nation has ever seen.
Case in point: Anyone else remember how Bush was dumping arsenic in our water?
He wasn’t, of course, but on his way out, a churlish Bill Clinton issued an executive order lowering the threshold of arsenic in the water supply from ten parts per billion to five parts per billion. The ten-parts standard had been in place for sixty years, including through all eight years of Clinton. It was entirely safe – nobody in the country was dying of arsenic poisoning by drinking tap water. Yet when Bush balked at implementing the new rule due to the massive expense, much of which would be shouldered by small, rural localities, everyone went nuts.
Suddenly, Bush was “poisoning the water supply.”
The Democrats ran ads with little girls holding a glass up to a camera and asking “”May I have more arsenic in my water, Mommy?” Celebrities used the arsenic nonsense to besmirch a president who was too damned decent to fight back. Bush too often was more interested in being accommodating than right, so he relented and applied the standard at considerable cost. It earned him nothing. They hated him then, and they still hate him today.
Bush was constantly apologizing for things he did right, and still he got slapped down and ridiculed by the Legion of Cool People. Remember those famous “sixteen words” in his State of the Union Address that had everyone apoplectic? Here they are again: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
And how did George Bush fight back? He friggin’ apologized.
This became a pattern throughout the Bush presidency. When Bush fired eight U.S. attorneys, it was a huge scandal, despite the fact that U.S. attorneys are political appointments and can be fired for the color of their hair if the president feels like it. Clinton fired ALL OF THEM practically on his first day, and there was nary a peep. But what did Bush do? Apologized again, and then threw his Attorney General to the wolves. And it did nothing to placate his critics, who were already branding him a war criminal.
So here we are in 2009, and now we have all the same Cool People who kicked Bush when he was up and kicked him when he was down and always refused to acknowledge any decency in their political opponents, now they’re badgering people like me to “come together” in “unity” and “give this president a chance.” Watching the news reports, you’d think Barack Obama was elected by unanimous acclaim, not by just 2% more of the popular vote than Bush got in 2004.
Well, guess what. This country has big problems, and if Barack Obama can solve them, then I’ll support him with everything I’ve got. He is my president, and, what’s more, he seems like a decent man. I’m going to give him the chance that none of these same people were willing to give to Bush. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to play kissy face with everyone who called Bush and his supporters – including me – hatemongers and war criminals and bigots and everything else. They are the agents of divisiveness. They have ripped this country apart over and over again, despite Bush’s wasted attempts at courtesy and mutual respect. Now, when they have all the marbles, they want us to make nice. Well, to quote the reprehensible Dixie Chicks, I’m not ready to make nice. I’m not sure if I ever will be.
I conclude with the last two paragraphs of the article that spurred this diatribe, which sum up my feelings better than anything else could:
Remember this video: It is an instructive relic of the era of celebrity decadence and boutique anti-Republican activism under President Bush. It is a sickening display that they want fast and easy absolution for having comported themselves like ill-behaved children for eight difficult and war-torn years.
Good luck, President Obama. The rest of you can go to hell.